Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Canadian Chaos

You may want to pay attention to the news from Canada in the coming week.

Paul Martin’s Liberal government
lost a no-confidence vote last night, and is refusing to step down. The Liberals are attempting to compromise, but they have no credibility with their colleagues at this time.

Apparently, they can get away with this because the no-confidence vote was based on a rider to a motion, rather than a motion. There is a
lot of arguing over whether this is correct or legal – this article is a good explanation of what’s involved. The refusal to step down and call new elections is unprecedented.

There is a lot of parliamentary terms and language to understand.
Here is an article on the Westminster type of government and how it works. This link will be a good place to get the latest info and the backstory on what led to these events. I am going to recommend you go here
on J.J. McCullogh’s
Filibuster site for the ins and outs of Canadian government and politics.

The future is grim – either Paul Martin’s government dissolves, or Canada has its gravest constitutional crisis since the
October Crisis of 1970. If Martin’s government refuses to step down, Canada’s Sovereign (Queen Elizabeth II, acting through her designated representative, the Governor-General of Canada) may have to intervene. In a crisis, the Governor-General can exercise reserve powers, which authorize the Governor-General to force the government to call a new election and step down. This is rare (in Canada, it has never happened), but it happened in Australia in 1975.


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